Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Are we our brother's keeper?

By Don Klein

I am not what some people would describe as a “Bible freak.” You know, those people who attribute all that happens to mankind being the result of God”s displeasure with the human race for not obeying every word in the scriptures.

I recall some religious kook proclaiming that the reason for the disaster of September 11, 2001 was God’s way of punishing us for tolerating homosexuality in this country. Similar absurdities were floated into the ether by fundamentalists after Katrina, the bombing in Oklahoma City, the Gulf oil spill and virtually every major natural or manmade disaster in recent years.

Just because these weirdoes use what they call the holy book as the grounds for their idiotic pronouncements it doesn’t negate everything we find in the bible. The most casual reader will find considerable wisdom in the book if he looks at it as a source of ancient sensibility.

Forbiding murder, theft and covetous behavior for example, are just a handful of biblical prohibitions that make civilized life a bit more civilized in enlightened societies around the world.

To me, probably the most universally ignored words among the thousands of biblical passages is the one Cain uttered after he slew his brother, Abel. According to the bible he asked God “Am I my brother's keeper?" That was a weighty question in ancient times and it still is today, maybe even more so than ever.

The evidence of self-centered irresponsible conduct, often purely criminal, is mountainous across every border of the globe. In Norway we have a young man driven by fear and hatred demonstrating his ire by blowing up government buildings in Oslo followed by mowing down youngsters at an island summer camp not too distant. Total dead: more than 70.

In Iraq and Afghanistan we read news reports of hundreds dying almost weekly by militants who blow up victims without so much of a second thought about the consequences or the impact this has on families and without apparent penalty to themselves if they manage to escape their suicidal designs.

In London we have Murdoch’s news minions digging into the private affairs of private citizens in search of juicy knick-knacks to be included in Sunday newspaper features. When exposed Rupert, the grand sultan of the gigantic media corporation, and his son, James, the grand vizier, rejected responsible for the breaches of morality and law and not only claimed innocence, but worse, claimed they are victims of their own manipulations.

Then don’t forget the Wall Street moguls who discovered a sleazy way to make tons of money by packaging and selling faulty real estate stock to gluttonous “get rich quick” buyers then purchasing insurance to cover their losses so when the stock crashed they make their money and others go down the toilet.

In Washington we have the living hell of a government that cannot govern in the United States because politicians are more interested in their temporary political survival than the good of millions of non-politicians who will suffer dearly if the country defaults on its debts.

The most ironic twist of all is that the Republicans refusal to permit closing of tax loopholes and elimination of tax cuts for the wealthy because they claim it is wrong to raise personal costs (taxes) in a recession could be causing everyone to incur higher expenses when interest rates balloon after the country fails to pay its creditors.

Are they saying keep taxes low, but disregard the higher cost of living that will accompany default? I have to say they are not thinking of anything but their own reelection and their wealthy backers.

As the unprincipled successors to the biblical Abel, they have every right to ask, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” with a straight face. So are the Wall Street moguls and Rupert and James Murdoch. The only thing they keep close to their hearts is their wallets.

Whether you attain power threw the use of a gun aimed at unarmed individuals as in Norway or a bomb surreptitiously placed in front of a government building, like in Oklahoma City or because you own a large media conglomerate or you are just a thoughtless, closed-minded politician, you are dangerous to mankind. Your goal is to destroy others for you own purposes and to hell with the consequences.

So the ancient men who wrote the bible might have had the right idea. They called out many of the bad guys of religion and myths for all to note through eternity or for as long as people read the bible. In a sense they were the journalists of their archaic eras, and it is interesting that the journalists of today are kept busy reporting stories of people who still believe they are not their brother’s keeper.

Despite all the scientiific and technical progress of mankind through the ages, some things never change.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don, As you know, I am not one of those who cannot support a position unless it follows a particular ideology. You also know that I take most columnists with a grain of salt. However, having said that, I am moved to give you an A++ for this piece of political prose. You are living proof that Abel doesn't have a chance against Solomon.